A few excerpts from various MLB analysts and journalists on Jim Leyland and his time in Detroit:
First comes from Jason Beck who covers the Tigers on his MLBlog:
He was from what everybody calls a simpler time, and he was way more complex than he let on at times. He wasn’t old-school, he once said, just old. Even in his press conference Monday, he made light of being considered grumpy. But he didn’t really like being called crusty.
He could get on a player about a game decision, then joke with them the next day as if nothing happened. He could disagree with Justin Verlander about goodness-knows-what, to the point where he joked about Verlander never agreeing with him about anything, but Verlander could have his back. He could be fierce with his players, then get fierce loyalty from them at the same time, from superstars to bench guys, and get them all to play as a team. The coming years could show just how tricky that is, just as the years before Leyland did.
He can be replaced as manager of the Detroit Tigers, just as he was in his other stops. But he can never be duplicated. There are a lot of things that could be reviewed about the 2013 team and what happened, but it shouldn’t be the final judgment from Leyland’s legacy. It’s a lot more complex than that, much like Leyland was.
From Phil Rogers at MLB.com:
Like a foreman at one of Detroit's auto plants or a shift boss in a factory near his home in Northwest Ohio, Jim Leyland expected one thing of himself -- to get the best out of his men.
Dave Dombrowski, the general manager/team president who was smart enough to coax Leyland out of his first retirement, said Leyland's "tenure will be looked back on as one of the great eras in Tigers history.' Leyland's retirement, which comes at the end of his third one-year deal to return -- the same kind of arrangement that La Russa had in his final years in St. Louis -- is unexpected, but not shocking.
It comes as another era is ending.
Adam Berry at MLB.com:
Joe Buck and Tim McCarver, who will call the World Series for FOX after working the ALCS in which Boston beat Detroit in six games, both said in a conference call with media on Monday that they were caught completely off guard by Leyland's decision, despite many recent conversations.
"I was shocked," Buck said. "If this is it, Jim will go out as a very successful manager, but also as a man who has the ability to manage star players. That's a big deal in today's game."
"That brings back a line that Gene Mauch had," McCarver added. "He was one of the smartest people in the game. Years ago, the common belief was that a manager should understand 25 different players. Mauch said that he was being perhaps idealistic, but he asked, 'Wouldn't it make more sense for 25 players to understand one manager?' I think what Jim Leyland got out of his team was that 25 men understood one guy."
That sentiment was a common one, even for those who lined up against Leyland. Take it from Giants manager Bruce Bochy, whose San Francisco club swept Leyland's Tigers in the 2012 World Series. Bochy called Leyland "a tremendous baseball man ... revered by all the players, managers and coaches in the game."